The American Civil Liberties Union of Arkansas and the Arkansas Law Center filed a lawsuit Wednesday challenging Arkansas’ law requiring voters to show photo identification at the polls. The suit, filed in Pulaski County Circuit Court on behalf of four Arkansas voters, alleges that Act 595 of 2103 violates the Arkansas Constitution by imposing requirements on voting that go beyond the requirements established in the constitution and impairing the rights of Arkansans to vote. “People who have been qualified to vote their entire adult lives are now being blocked from doing so by this unnecessary and unconstitutional law,” Rita Sklar, executive director of the ACLU of Arkansas, said in a statement. “The Arkansas Constitution specifically outlines the qualifications needed to vote. The state should be ashamed of making it harder for eligible voters from exercising this most fundamental right than our own constitution requires.” State Sen. Bryan King, R-Green Forest, who sponsored Act 595, said the law addresses voter fraud. “Requiring someone to present a photo ID is not shameful,” he said. “You have to do it to get on an airplane. You have to do it at a lot of basic functions that we operate in everyday life. Is it shameful that we have do require this for people that get on an airplane? That’s ridiculous.”
Aaron Sadler, spokesman for state Attorney General Dustin McDaniel, said Wednesday, “We just received a copy of the lawsuit and are reviewing it. We anticipate that we will continue our defense of the state Election Commission with regard to this Act.”
The suit cites Article 3, Section 1 of the state constitution, which states that a voter in Arkansas must be a citizen of the United States, a resident of Arkansas, at least 18 years of age and lawfully registered to vote.
Those are “the only legal qualifications for a voter in Arkansas” established in the state constitution, the suit states.
Act 595, which took effect Jan. 1, requires voters to show photo ID at the polls and submit proof of identification, not necessarily a photo, when voting by absentee ballot. If a voter fails to show photo ID when voting in person, the ballot is treated as a provisional ballot and the voter is given until noon on the Monday after the election to show ID so the ballot can be counted.
“By its passage, the Arkansas General Assembly has added, pursuant to Act 595, new and unconstitutional qualifications for Arkansas residents to vote in the State of Arkansas in violation of Article 3, section 1 of the Arkansas Constitution,” the suit states.
Full Article: Lawsuit challenges Arkansas voter ID law | Arkansas News.